This historic family-owned estate is named after its founder Cesare Pio, who established the business in 1881. The winery is based in Alba, in the heart of Piemonte and is now run by Federica Boffa and Cesare Benvenuto, the fifth generation of the family. Pio Cesare developed Barolo’s reputation overseas in the 1950s by being one of the first producers to export the wine to the UK. The founder’s great grandson Pio Boffa was deeply convinced of the importance of cultivating and growing owned land to produce high quality wines and played a key role in the acquisition of vineyards in the same locations where Cesare Pio used to buy his grapes from. Today Pio Cesare owns 70 hectares in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco and makes wines in a style that manages to balance the best of the old with the best of the new. The estate includes most of the municipalities in the Barolo and Barbaresco areas.
Pio Cesare own 52 hectares of vineyards in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco, including some of the prime sites for growing Nebbiolo including 16 hectares of the ‘Ornato’ vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba, one of the best vineyards in the Barolo area. The Ornato vineyard is an amphitheatre with south / south east and south west exposures. The soil are characterised by high content of clay producing wines with power and great depth, intense tannins, and very long ageing potential. Since 1985, Pio Cesare decided selects a small quantity of Nebbiolo from three different plots to create a Barolo that reflects the characteristics of Serralunga soils.
This is a single-vineyard Barolo from very ripe grapes of three different plots of the famous Pio Cesare family’s Ornato Estate in Serralunga d’Alba, one of the top vineyards in the whole Barolo area. It is fermented in stainless steel with skin contact for 15 days and aged in mid-toasted French oak botti for 36 months, with a small quantity aged in barriques for the first 12 months.
The 2019 vintage, thanks to good weather conditions across a long growing season with no major temperature peaks and good water reserves in the soil allowed the Nebbiolo grapes to achieve perfect ripening without any stress, and to express the typical features of each vineyard, and revealing the great diversity that characterises every vineyard within the Pio Cesare estate.
A very cold and dry winter was followed by high rainfall in March and April ensuring abundant water reserves in the soil. May was characterised by unstable weather and cooler than average temperatures, leading to a delay in the vegetative growth of about 15 days compared to recent years, in line, however, with a more traditional trend for the Langhe region. The summer was warm with isolated heat peaks during late June and July and intense but not damaging thunderstorms in the second half of July and August. The final part of the summer was marked by mild temperatures with sporadic rainfall and significant temperature fluctuations at night, particularly favourable for the perfect ripening of the grapes. The weather was then very stable and sunny until harvest with sporadic rainfall and cool night temperatures that allowed Nebbiolo to achieve gradual perfect ripeining. The harvest started on 13th October.
The 2019 vintage has a very traditional character, with wines that show great structure but retain great fruit concentration and floral character at the same time, along with balanced acidity, soft tannin and extraordinary aromatic complexity, all typical characteristics of great Barolo vintages.
Dark cherry aromas are nestled between wild herbs, flowers and savory spices that push and pull your attention with each taste. Sturdy and well-structured, this wine is built for tomorrow, when all parts will relax into one another to reveal just how great this wine is. Drink 2028–2045 (Jeff Porter, Wine Enthusiast).
Serve with red meat dishes, game or seasonal truffle, mature cheeses.
Serve at 16-18°C.
96 points Wine Enthusiast – Cellar selection
The 2019 Ornato highlights how special this vineyard is with grace and structure combined into pure class. Dark cherry aromas are nestled between wild herbs, flowers and savory spices that push and pull your attention with each taste. Sturdy and well-structured, this wine is built for tomorrow, when all parts will relax into one another to reveal just how great this wine is. Drink 2028–2045 (Jeff Porter).
97 points Susan Hulme MW
This 2019 Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato is a distinctive and characterful single vineyard wine from Serralunga d’Alba, first produced in 1985. It is only made in the best years and from a selection of the best plots from the Ornato vineyard. The colour is an intense, youthful and blue toned ruby suggesting a low pH and higher acidity. The nose is beautifully incisive and persistent with seductive notes of violet and transparent, cool, red fruit such as raspberry, combined with a faint iron tonic aroma and distinctive mineral notes. On the palate there is a mouth-watering, tangy long finish with a range of flavours from raspberry, blood orange, orange peel and iron. This is an energetic and lively wine with a delicately balanced structure like fine bone china. I love its vibrant acidity, the finesse of the tannins and its distinctive personality.
Barolo DOCG, Piemonte